School & Center For Children With Autism In New York

Headlines

  • Labor induction or augmentation 'does not cause autism,' say obstetricians
    A new statement from the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists says there is insufficient evidence to suggest that labor induction or augmentation causes autism.
  • Prenatal exposure to selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors associated with autism and developmental delays in boys
    In a study of nearly 1,000 mother-child pairs, researchers from the Bloomberg School of Public health found that prenatal exposure to selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs), a frequently...
  • Screening infants to identify autism much earlier
    The aim of this study was to develop a screening tool to identify infants prior to 12 months at risk for autism spectrum disorder (ASD) and developmental learning delay (DLD) and provide immediate...
  • Atypical brain connectivity associated with autism spectrum disorder
    Autism spectrum disorder (ASD) in adolescents appears to be associated with atypical connectivity in the brain involving the systems that help people infer what others are thinking and understand...
  • Motor skill deficiencies linked to autism severity, reseearch says
    A relationship between motor skill deficiencies and the severity of the symptoms of autism spectrum disorder has been found in very young children. The findings indicate that development of motor skills should be included in treatment plans for young children with autism. Most autism treatment plans for young children focus on social communication because the disability has such a significant effect in that area. Incorporating fine and gross motor skill development into early interventions could provide a similar boost, the researchers say.
  • Life stressors trigger neurological disorders, researchers find
    When mothers are exposed to trauma, illness, alcohol or other drug abuse, these stressors may activate a single molecular trigger in brain cells that can go awry and activate conditions such as schizophrenia, post-traumatic stress disorder and some forms of autism. Until now, it has been unclear how much these stressors have impacted the cells of a developing brain. Past studies have shown that when an expectant mother exposes herself to alcohol or drug abuse or she experiences some trauma or illness, her baby may later develop a psychiatric disorder later in life. But the new findings identify a molecular mechanism in the prenatal brain that may help explain how cells go awry when exposed to certain environmental conditions.
  • Labor induction or augmentation 'does not cause autism,' say obstetricians
    A new statement from the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists says there is insufficient evidence to suggest that labor induction or augmentation causes autism.
  • Child's autism risk accelerates with mother's age over 30
    Older parents are more likely to have a child who develops an autism spectrum disorder than are younger parents. A recent study provides more insight into how the risk associated with parental age varies between mothers' and fathers' ages, and found that the risk of having a child with both autism spectrum disorder and intellectual disability is larger for older parents.
  • Are Urinary Porphyrins a Valid Diagnostic Biomarker of Autism Spectrum Disorder?
    A fundamental challenge to the timely diagnosis of Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) is the reliance on the observation of a set of aberrant behavior. Consequently, the diagnostic process requires that the child reach an age where the behaviors would typically be exhibited. The identification of a reliable biological marker (biomarker) could be of considerable benefit to the diagnostic process. As a diagnostic biomarker, porphyrins present an attractive prospect as previous studies have reported consistent findings of children with ASD showing significant elevations in porphyrin levels in contrast to controls. Furthermore, there is some evidence that ASD severity may be associated with porphyrins, which would be a valuable characteristic of any ASD biomarker. Importantly, for practical use, porphyrins can be tested non-invasively via a sample of urine. The present study sought to investigate whether porphyrin profiles can reliably be used to (a) differentiate ASD cases from healthy controls; and (b) predict ASD severity. The study compared the porphyrin levels of three groups of children aged 2?6 years: Group 1?children diagnosed with ASD (n?=?70); Group 2?healthy, normally developing siblings of children diagnosed with ASD (n?=?36); and Group 3?healthy, normally developing children with no known blood relative diagnosed with ASD (n?=?54). The results of logistic regression analyses failed to find support for the hypotheses that porphyrin levels could be used as a valid tool to detect ASD cases or predict severity. Autism Res 2014 , ?: ?????. 2014 International Society for Autism Research, Wiley Periodicals, Inc.
  • Intact Facial Adaptation in Autistic Adults
    Adaptation paradigms seek to bias subsequently viewed stimuli through prolonged exposure to an adapting stimulus, thereby giving rise to an aftereffect. Recent experiments have found that children with autism spectrum disorders (ASD) show reduced facial aftereffects, prompting some researchers to speculate that all individuals with ASD exhibit deficient facial adaptation. However, caution is required when generalizing findings from samples of children with ASD to the wider ASD population. The reduced facial aftereffects seen in child samples may instead reflect delayed or atypical developmental trajectories, whereby individuals with ASD are slower to develop adaptive mechanisms. In the present study, two experiments were conducted to determine whether high-functioning adults with ASD also show diminished aftereffects for facial identity and expression. In Experiment 1, using a procedure that minimized the contribution of low-level retinotopic adaptation, we observed substantial aftereffects comparable to those seen in matched controls, for both facial identity and expression. A similar pattern of results was seen in Experiment 2 using a revised procedure that increased the contribution of retinotopic adaptation to the facial aftereffects observed. That adults with autism can show robust facial aftereffects raises the possibility that group differences are seen only at particular points during development, and may not be a lifelong feature of the condition. Autism Res 2014, ??: ?????. 2014 International Society for Autism Research, Wiley Periodicals, Inc.
  • Gastrointestinal Dysfunction in Children With Autism Spectrum Disorders
    Gastrointestinal (GI) dysfunctions are frequently reported by parents of children with autism spectrum disorders (ASD) and have been recently recognized as a comorbid condition. However, the clinical significance of these GI dysfunctions remains to be delineated. This study describes the clinical characteristics, associated comorbid disorders, and endoscopic and colonoscopic evaluation of GI dysfunction in a cohort of 164 children with ASD evaluated at a pediatric neurology practice. Symptoms of GI dysfunction were prevalent: 49% of the children reported one or more chronic GI complaints, 22% exhibited diarrhea, 26% suffered from constipation. Furthermore 13% of the parents reported their children to suffer from bloating and/or being gassy and while 10% of the parents reported vomiting or gastroesophageal reflux problems. Similar rates of GI symptoms were reported among pre-school and school-aged children. Inflammation of the gut was found in 6 of the 12 subjects who underwent endoscopic and colonoscopic evaluations, however clinical symptoms did not predict the results of the evaluation. GI dysfunction was significantly associated with sleep disorders and food intolerance, but not with irritability or aggressiveness. In summary, GI dysfunction was prevalent in this cohort of children with ASD, observations consistent with the reports of parents and other clinicians. We conclude that the GI dysfunction in ASD requires proper evaluation and treatment. Autism Res 2014, ??: ?????. 2014 International Society for Autism Research, Wiley Periodicals, Inc.
  • Family-Based Clinical Associations and Functional Characterization of the Serotonin 2A Receptor Gene (HTR2A) in Autism Spectrum Disorder
    The serotonin 2A receptor gene (HTR2A) harbors two functional single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) that are frequent in populations of African and European descent; rs6311, which affects mRNA expression, and rs6314, which changes the amino acid sequence of the encoded protein and affects the signaling properties of the receptor. Multiple clinical associations support a role for these SNPs in cognitive and neuropsychiatric phenotypes, although studies in autism spectrum disorder (ASD) remain equivocal. Here, we tested transmission disequilibrium of rs6311 and rs6314 in a cohort of 158 ASD trios (simplex and multiplex), observing significant under-transmission of the minor ?A? allele of rs6311 to offspring with ASD (permuted P?=?0.0004). Consistent with our previous findings in the dorsolateral prefrontal cortex of unaffected individuals, rs6311/A decreases expression of HTR2A mRNA with an extended 5? untranslated region (UTR) in the frontopolar cortex in brain samples from 54 ASD patients and controls. Interpreting the clinical results in the context of our mRNA expression analysis, we speculate that any risk associated with rs6311 is conferred by greater expression of the long 5?UTR mRNA isoform. The current study corroborates earlier associations between rs6311 and ASD in a family study, supporting the hypothesis that rs6311 plays a modulatory role in ASD risk. Autism Res 2014, ??: ?????. 2014 International Society for Autism Research, Wiley Periodicals, Inc.
 

Research

  • Analysis of movement patterns may reveal autism severity
    An automated system developed for tracking the movements of lab animals can be used to accurately map the activity of children with autism, researchers reported in the February Molecular Autism. When given free rein, the system found, children with autism tend to explore a room?s edges, whereas those with other developmental disorders cling to their parents.
  • Guest blog: The case for using 'prebiotics'
    Prebiotics ? nutrients that promote the growth of some beneficial gut bacteria ? can influence brain chemistry and behavior. New findings suggest prebiotics as treatments for people with neurological disorders, say Sarkis Mazmanian and Gil Sharon.
  • Molecular mechanisms: Mutant star cells stunt neuron size
    Support cells generated from people with Rett syndrome release molecules that alter the shape and function of neurons, according to a study published 27 February in Human Molecular Genetics.
  • The cerebellum's surprisingly evolved role in autism
    Thought until recently to only coordinate motor skills, the cerebellum is involved in diverse cognitive functions such as language and social interaction, and may play a role in autism, says Emanuel DiCicco-Bloom.
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